Time to Run

This is the time of year for marathons, before the heat of summer invades. Every major city seems to have one; even smaller cities host runs of various lengths. Perhaps the most famous is the Boston marathon; they’ve been doing it every year since 1897. This year’s race took place on April 16th with 26,948 runners; all but 5% of them finished. People come from all over the world to participate, including a good number who do it in wheelchairs.

Many of us are getting older and the thought of running a long race seems preposterous. While it’s certainly appealing to those who are young, some seniors actually run marathons. Eighty-five-year-old Katherine Beiers, a former librarian from California, was one of the last to finish the Boston marathon – but she did it!

The Scriptures compare the life of faith to running a race. In Hebrews 12:1-3 the writer says we must “lay aside every encumbrance” to do it. Runners don’t need baggy clothes or heavy footwear; they slim down and try to be as light as possible. Likewise, Christians disentangle themselves from sin and the distractions that come with it, and “fix their eyes on Jesus.” He crossed the finish line ahead of us, so we focus on Him and what He did. The secret of running a long race is endurance, for no one can do it by speed alone. It’s not a sprint, it’s carefully measured work. Many Christians forge into the life of faith in a hurry, but they don’t last. We live with determination and stamina. How you serve the Master at 70 years old is quite different than how you did it at 25.

The apostle Paul also spoke of running the race. “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim” (1 Cor.9:26-27). He was always aware that he could easily veer off the track or give up entirely. “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” Let’s be aware of how far we’ve come in life as followers of the Lord and make sure we don’t give up in weariness as we approach the end. Jesus is waiting there for you.

Run with endurance.

– Tim Johnson